MySpace, MyDeathSpace

Web 2.0 technologies enable more people to have access to creating their own online content. This results not only in blogs, wikis, websites, and social networking sites, but creative spin-offs, too. A mixture of tongue-in-cheek parodies and smart marketing exist, like the following: SecondLife is parodied by Geta(First)Life.  Bloggers with a dark sense of humour sign up for DeadJournal, not LiveJournal. Voyeurs whose itches aren’t scratched by YouTube may seek satisfaction at PornoTube.

The one that intrigues me most is MyDeathSpace. Explained in detail by Ray Pietras, this site posts details on the passing of people with MySpace accounts. The veracity of the obituaries can be tested against “publicly available information”, their front page states, as well as providing the following guidance: “We have given you the opportunity to pay your respects and tributes to the recently deceased members via our comment system. Please be respectful.”

There’s so much I want to say about this but need some time to reflect. Thoughts on online versus F2F [face to face] writing for openness and facilitating grieving; callous, disdainful comments from pseudonym-cloaked users, and the fallout of those comments. Thoughts on whether this can reduce the youth death rate due to preventable accidents and suicides, even while turning reading obituaries into entertainment…



  1. Yes, I think someething like that would work. And to your point about “norms,” I think that rules develop with use. So as people/groups of people delve into this type of thing more, the rules kind of grow organically. – Stephanie

  2. Two things that can increase our ability to recall are humour and horror; that which makes us laugh or horrifies us is likely to be something that stands out in the landscape of our memory. For these reasons, i think DeathJournal can reduce the teen death rate. Site users recalling tragic events faced by peers are less likely to replicate those behaviours – unless they are intentionally seeking to end their lives without anyone realizing it was intentional.

    I like what you say about the organic growth of norms.

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